Informational Guide to TAC vs THC

If you have taken a closer look at certain THC products you might have noticed that there is something on the label about TAC. No, that is not a typo and your eyes are not playing tricks on you if you ever thought that at one point in time. TAC, or Total Active Cannabinoids, is actually a way that breaks down the active cannabinoids found in that specific strain, so users are able to fully understand and be aware of what they are consuming prior to consuming it. If you were ever curious about this latest practice done in more established cannabis markets, it is truly an interesting initiative that will provide more information to cannabis consumers than we have ever had access to previously. Before we dive into it, make sure your smoke setup has everything you need, like cannabis storage solutions that are often overlooked but a necessity to keep those TACs potent and feisty! 

What are total active cannabinoids?

Total active cannabinoids is a term that refers to a cannabis strain and the cannabinoids it contains. Basically, the TAC on a cannabis product label is a general summary of all of the cannabinoids that are considered active. Active cannabinoids are the chemical compounds that are responsible for producing those high effects, like the cannabinoids that initiate psychoactivity. 

What does TAC mean for cannabis products?

TAC can also mean total aerobic count, which is also an indicator of the number of bacteria found in a cannabis sample. This is a term that was coined in the food industry to set proper manufacturing standards, so either way, TAC is intended to be used it is an informative number of what is actually inside of a cannabis product. 

Which cannabinoids are present in weed?

Which cannabinoids are present in weed?

If you ever do see TAC vs THC on a label and will most likely refer to total active cannabinoids instead of total aerobic count. But what does that even mean for you? You are probably seeing a bunch of acronyms for cannabinoids you have never even heard of, and we understand that could be quite confusing. So what are all of the cannabinoids you can expect to find on a TAC vs THC list? There are what many call the “big six” cannabinoids, plus a few others that are important to learn along the way. 


Of course, THC is the most present cannabinoid found in cannabis strains and the main reason why users feel high after smoking weed. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, interacts and binds with CB1 receptors to mimic endocannabinoids which are responsible for our bodily functions. THC is the cannabinoid that will have you feeling like you got knocked on your butt or like your head is in the clouds.


Another common cannabinoid is CBD or cannabidiol. While we can get CBD products by themselves without the presence of THC (hemp plants are best for sourcing), the presence of CBD in a cannabis strain is there to increase the feel-good molecules that endocannabinoids produce in the body. While CBD will not deliver that “high” feeling, you should still feel nice and relaxed from it due to that good feeling that your body is producing from it. 


CBD, or cannabigerol, is a minor cannabinoid that basically sets the pace for other cannabinoids to form during the growth process. An early-phase CBG is called CBGA and is where all cannabinoids begin before transforming into something else. All cannabinoids start out as CBGA, then with more UV light absorption and breaking down of nutrients, CBGA tends to turn into other precursor cannabinoids like THCA and CBDA. There are really only small trace amounts of CBG found in most marijuana strains, and unless specifically bred to do so, CBGA will break down into other cannabinoid forms instead. CBGA is the precursor to THCA which turns into THC, CBDA which turns into CBD, and CBCA which turns into CBC. 


CBC, or cannabichromene, is not an intoxicating cannabinoid the way THC is so it is not responsible for the euphoria that cannabis causes. CBC actually binds with CB2 receptors in the body rather than CB1 receptors, CBC is highly attached to the entourage effect as its presence in cannabis strains can really amplify user benefits when working in combination with other cannabinoids like THC and CBD.


CBN, or cannabinol, is basically a weaker version of THC. CBN is actually a breakdown of THC cannabinoids and will occur naturally if exposed to too much oxygen and moisture in the air over time. CBN found in cannabis strains is usually the cause of increased relaxation, and contains anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties for potential benefits. 


THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is pretty similar not just in name but in molecular structure to THC cannabinoids. THCV is a very unique cannabis strain and you do not see this type of cannabinoid very often in common strains found throughout the states. THCV can potentially help to slow down appetite and food cravings, assists with anxious feelings that might lead to panic attacks, and can even potentially help with bone growth as it promotes the new bone growth cells. 

All cannabinoids have very different jobs so it is best to research every single one so you can have a better understanding of how each plays in combination with the other. You will come across an entirely different cannabis community that can open your eyes to a whole other side of cannabinoids and their benefits. 

What are other compounds in cannabis?

Depending on the cannabis strain, there can be well over 500 cannabis compounds found in any given marijuana plant. Not only does this include cannabinoids, but also terpenoids, omega fatty acids, and flavonoids. Now that you are already aware of the main types of cannabinoids you might expect to find listed on a TAC label, here are some other compounds to know about so you can figure out exactly which is best for you.


The flavor and aroma of a cannabis strain are all thanks to the terpenes associated with that strain. Terpenes also contribute to the overall entourage effect that happens when using cannabis, so they are pretty important to know about if you want to gain more knowledge about why your favorite cannabis strain makes you feel the way it does. Here are the main terpene compounds you can find in cannabis strains and what each is best known for.

  • Limonene. Thanks to citrus-like terpene, limonene is especially known for aiding stress relief and can be found in both sativa and indica strains. Limonene might remind you of a lemon and just overall sweet, tangy, citrus profile.
  • Myrcene. This terpene is also found in mango and lemongrass and has a nice calming effect. Have you ever heard about eating mango prior to smoking weed to increase your high? Myrcene has something to do with that, so if you are looking for an extra sedating experience just skip to a cannabis strain that has a good amount of myrcene terpenes in that strain. Blue Dream is a popular strain that is pretty heavy and contains myrcene for a classic, rich high.
  • Humulene. Known for its antibacterial properties, humulene is also responsible for that dank and pungent earthy smell that weed gives off. Popular strains like Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) contain humulene which is a pretty valid reason why GSC is a classic strain most OG stoners reach for. 
  • Linalool. Extremely popular in aromatherapy, linalool is known for its floral and fragrant notes that contribute to a calming effect. Linalool is present in lavender and makes sense as to why most find it extremely relaxing and calming for the mind when linalool is a present terpene in a cannabis strain.
  • Caryophyllene. This terpene can also be considered a cannabinoid as well and is the spicy-flavored terpene profile that hits the back of your nose and taste buds when you first get a whiff and a hit. Caryophyllene is found in spices like cinnamon and black pepper, so imagine inhaling that directly and how itchy and irritated your nose would be. Caryophyllene in cannabis strains is pretty enjoyable and can be found in straight gas strains like Sour Diesel. 
  • Pinene. With flavor profiles similar to pine, pinene gives that nice and fresh feeling of nature which is why it contributes to uplifting effects and is found in many sativa-dominant strains like Jack Herer. 
  • Ocimene. Not an extremely popular terpene, this woodsy yet sweet terpene profile is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Cannabis strains like Green Crack have ocimene present and give a nice balance between earthy and sweet.
  • Terpinolene. This terpene is not popular in many cannabis strains but is popular for its presence in cannabis strains to increase psychedelic effects. Terpinolene is also found in essential oils like tea tree oil and is an all-star in general, despite its lack of presence in many marijuana strains.
What are other compounds in cannabis?

Other cannabis compounds: flavonoids, fatty acids

While there are hundreds of components that make a specific cannabis strain unique, terpenes are not the only reason they are the way they are. Flavonoids, fatty acids, and other compounds that make up a cannabis strain are equally as important when considering the greatness of any cannabis genetic makeup. Here is a quick breakdown of the other cannabis compounds that deserve to be mentioned and highlighted on their own:

  • Flavonoids. Flavonoids are very similar to terpenes because they do play a major role in the aroma and flavor of a cannabis strain, but they also step it up a notch by giving color pigmentation to cannabis strains and providing protection to the plant from several elements. Flavonoids are also found in fruits and vegetables and are considered healthy because of the flavonoids found in each.
  • Omega fatty acids. We have all learned about omega fatty acids when it comes to heart health, and cannabis in its raw form actually contains a 3:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Omega fatty acids will not be present or give off any benefits if smoking a joint or bong bowl, but if consuming cannabis through tinctures or other THC oil methods, you should see a difference when ingesting via tincture.
  • Chlorophyll. Every plant contains chlorophyll which is an important part of the growth process where chlorophyll converts into glucose. Chlorophyll can still be found in pressed cannabis oil or joints containing live resin. 

How is TAC different from THC or CBD percentage?

As mentioned previously, what is TAC vs THC in weed? TAC in weed refers to the number of active cannabinoids that are found when testing a specific cannabis strain. TAC vs THC can mean totally different things and be perceived in two different ways. TAC vs THC are referring to different aspects of a cannabis strain so once you understand the different meanings for each you will never associate the two together. THC or CBD percentage refers to the amount of cannabis each amount contains per its dry weight. So, 25% THC products actually contain 250 mg of cannabis per gram. This is typically tested in labs and by manufacturers to test potency, and TAC takes it a step further by listing out all cannabinoids present during cannabis strain testing and analysis.

Does TAC matter?

Have you ever gotten some weed from a source that could not give you the origins of the weed you are about to smoke? Taking a shot in the dark is not only risky, but in this day and age, you deserve to know exactly what you are putting into your body. Total active cannabinoids do make a difference if you know about them because you will be able to control your cannabis strain choices even more based on which total active cannabinoids you prefer. For many users, TAC helps them to understand what properties are within each strain and what the user could potentially benefit from. While some stoners do not really care about THC count much less total active cannabinoid count, for those that want to know exactly the type of marijuana they are smoking and how it can help their mind and body - TAC makes a huge difference.

If you have never noticed or even seen TAC on a cannabis product label, the next time you have a cannabis product in front of you feel free to check. If it does not contain TAC on the label, try to look up the specific strain and see which total active cannabinoids are typically present in that specific strain. If there is the total active cannabinoids list on the label, try to analyze it while smoking and see if you can taste or smell any of the total active cannabinoids we mentioned!

Does TAC matter?

Can TAC mean something else? Tac (total active cannabinoids) vs tac (total aerobic count)

As mentioned previously, TAC can mean different things. Whether it is referring to total active cannabinoids or total aerobic count, TAC methods were used to give more information to customers regarding the cannabis strains they are consuming. Whether users should know about the active cannabinoids found in each cannabis strain, or the amount of bacteria contaminants found in there too - the choice should be there. When it comes to total aerobic count, there are some microbes that can be beneficial rather than bacteria that are only present and considered contamination. Overall, most users would look for total active cannabinoids instead of total aerobic count as they can have much more useful information available to them regarding which terpenes and flavonoids they are consuming for their benefit. 

Buy Puff Puff Pass It 

Now that you understand total active cannabinoids and why you should be reading up on this in the first place, you will probably be a lot more mindful walking into the dispensary and not choosing any old strain but really thinking it through. Not just based on budget or past experience, but using your knowledge and research to see which terpene profiles and flavonoids would suit your needs best. At our headquarters, we want to share our Puff Puff Pass It story with both our new and returning customers because it is a good one. From one stoner to another, we appreciate the need for high-quality smoking accessories with easy access to the best of the best. From fast and superior shipping procedures, we will get your order straight to your door in a discreet and ultra-timely fashion. Don’t believe us? Check out our raving reviews from our past customers that just cannot get enough. Trust us when we say that we got your back because this isn’t our first rodeo in making sure all of our stoner homies are cared for and accounted for. It has never been this easy to add a few items to your cart, checkout, and wait a few days for your goodies to arrive. No more waiting weeks on end and needing to know the exact delivery time window so you can intercept it before anyone finds your goodies.